m93samman should rejoin debate.org as an active member
In an extended hiatus, I was overcame to login to DDO for a reason that I can't quite place my tongue on. Upon logging in, I have found that the website has changed considerably. The active users I once new are for the most part gone, and a new set of users has taken their place. The website format is largely changed, and I find navigating it far more difficult than I care to admit.
As I currently see it, I find no compelling reason to resume activity on the website as I once did several years ago. If anyone cares to convince me otherwise, I will consider becoming active once again. However if I were to win this debate, I will most likely return to my status of absence.
Truth be told, I might not even participate in this debate- on the bright side, I am certainly making an effort.
I would like to welcome m93samman back to DDO, even if it may be only for this debate--I sincerely hope it’s not that short-term. Con is from a different era of DDO than I, but I do remember him from my early days on the site and he’s on my friends list, so I guess we interacted.
I think we can obviously take it from the existence of this debate and the fact that Con felt compelled to revisit this site, that he is at least open to returning to the site as an active member. Furthermore, Con's significant past participation implies that he used to find this site a worthy focus of his time and energy. These two factors give me hope that he will be swayed to rejoin DDO.
The central features of the site 3-5 years ago--debating and forums--are essentially the same now and are still the main aspects of the site. The main difference, as Con alludes to, is the users. Many of the older members are gone, and many new ones have come in. I would not condemn Con for missing his old debate colleagues, or for feeling that the site is not quite the same without them around; most members would feel the same. However, there’s little inherently better about one generation of users compared to another; we just have a bias towards those we’ve known from the start. There’s nothing wrong with such a bias; but it does mean we have to give other members a chance. DDO currently has many great members that I don’t have the character space to list. Most of them are strangers to Con, which probably makes Con reluctant towards reentering the community. That’s understandable, but I would remind Con that the users he got to know 5 years ago were also complete strangers at first--the site itself was completely foreign to him when he joined. The users now are neither better nor worse than the users of 5 years ago. It was rewarding and worthwhile for Con 5 years ago to enter the community and participate in debates, voting and forum posting, and it would still be beneficial today. DDO is still alluring in all the same ways as it used to be; the members are just different.
Also, there are some older members who are either currently active or drop in and out from time to time. For example: Raisor, Roy, Mirza, Bluesteel, OreEle, Badger (now AnDoctuir), PCP, FREEDO, Tvellalot, Danielle, Nonentity (now Tulle), and Maikuru.
If I recall correctly, Con left around 3 years ago at the same time many other members were leaving. The state of the site back then was in fairly poor condition. If that is what contributed to Con leaving I’d argue that in many ways the site is much better now than then. One of the main reasons the site was in such a bad state then was the lack of moderation; now that is not an issue at all and Juggle have been very active in modifying and adding site features. I’ll list a few below since they make DDO even more fun:
Leaderboards: In the past, the DDO community almost unanimously supported an Elo leaderboard to replace the old one. Now Elo ranking is an integrated part of the site, providing a much more accurate, sophisticated, and interesting way of ranking members. Juggle have also added a forums leaderboard, a voting leaderboard, and a judge leaderboard.
Voting: Juggle have added settings for voting on debates, such as an Elo floor for voting, preselected judges for the debate, and “select winner” voting instead of the 7-point system. Furthermore, the number of votes cast is listed on members profiles, a voting leaderboard is in place, and votes can be reported. The current president of DDO, Bladerunner, has a platform that focuses much on voting; he’s even set up a committee to address voting issues. In other words, much more emphasis is put on good voting now than before. It is far more fun to debate when voting isn’t an issue.
The point of mentioning these features is that, in at least some ways, DDO is even more enjoyable than it used to be.
I hope I’ve swayed Con at least a little. Perhaps participating in this debate will help renew his interest.
m93samman forfeited this round.
Con accidentally missed the round but I'm happy to continue on to the next two rounds.
Like Pro said and like the debate implies, I am certainly open to returning the site. It is simply not as attractive to me as it was before. I'll explain why. For this round, I'm going to reply to my opponents arguments in the sequence in which they arrived. The replies I make will essentially serve as my arguments against returning.
Pro begins by saying that the core of the site as it once was is still intact; indeed this is true, but the additions and changes have left it rather foreign to me. Back in the day, "Forums" covered the "Opinions" and "Polls" drop down tabs and there was no problem with it. Now, with the exact same sub-topics under all of the tabs, the site is not only wasting a lot of space but is also redundant. Polls are a way to collect opinions, and opinions are shared in forums. I don't need to split my vote, my opinion, and my ideas.
As far as members are concerned, I actually don't have a problem with interacting with new people. What does bother me though is that for me to develop the same relationships (very loosely speaking) with the new member base would take time and effort, neither of which I am particularly able to give. I will begin pursuing my Master's degree in engineering this fall and the time commitment to it will most likely be full-time, the same as was my Bachelor's degree that kept me busy when I first left this site many years ago.
My opponent is correct in stating that the site was in horrible condition many years ago. However, if that had pushed me into leaving I would not have returned in the first place. I was comfortable the way it was, and got a good chuckle out of the occasional troll. It is actually my personal life that pulled me away. I had no bad sentiments towards the site at the time that I left. Additionally, I was a debater in my high school years and continued to judge debates for the first year or so of my undergraduate career. After I stopped judging, I also slowly lost interest in the site.
The ELO system is very nice, as is the new voting system. I noticed both as a rejoined and am very happy to see them. Although they clean up the site and allow for a more competitive nature amongst the users, it is not the key to my return. I currently see little reason for me to cram my personal life with an additional commitment.
Thank you to the readers for taking the time to read, and to my opponent for making the effort to bring me back. In voting, feel free to either vote according to who you believe won OR according to whether or not you would like for me to return to the site. Whichever you choose, make sure to submit a reason for your decision along with your vote.
Thanks for the reply Con.
Con says the site is not as attractive to him as it was before. I'll take Con's word that he finds it that way but I would posit that the site itself is not of any less quality than before. In fact, I've listed features that make it more appealing than it was before. Any reasons as to why the site is less appealing to Con in its inherent features--not facts specific to Con himself--I think I can dispel. Other factors particular to Con himself--such as the unfamiliar users--I'll try to mitigate as much as possible.
I think I can completely negate Con's concerns about Opinions and Polls sections. There's no need for Con to even visit the Polls/Opinions sections. I myself seldom even glance at those areas of the site and many other members don't either. Debates and the forums are the only aspects I focus my time on and the other sections don't take away from them. The site format has changed but you quickly get used to it. Simply ignore Opinions/Polls as many members do. This site should not seem so foreign to Con as debates/forums are still the core of the site--as Con admits, and there's no need to spend time on opinions and polls unless you want to.
Con isn't particularly opposed to interacting with almost solely newer members (relatively speaking); the time and effort in establishing relationships is what discourages him. First, I don't see why Con would need to gain the same level of relationships as he did with his original DDO colleagues. I wouldn't expect Con to return to the level of activity he displayed in his first years here. He's going to be busy so he won't have the time for that kind of commitment; but levels of activity vary from user to user and week to week. Some users spend a few hours a day; others, a few hours a week. Con doesn't need a full out level of activity in order to garner relationships and it's a gradual process. Con will get to know more and more users over time; it won't happen all at once. Plus it's still only July, so Con could get a head start before the school year.
I'm not going to pretend to know how much Con's pursuit of a Master's inhibits his schedule (though Con himself probably doesn't know either since it will be in the Fall), but few people have no free time and there are no doubt at least a few members here with busy schedules who still have time for DDO. Moreover, DDO is valuable and convenient way to spend one's free time. You can learn a ton, become better at arguing, make online friends, and you don't have to leave your computer. It's pretty much up to you when you want to use DDO so you can fit it into your schedule easily, which isn't the case with many other activities.
Con says the horrible condition of the site was not what pushed him into leaving. Fair enough, but it's still a factor that this site is better than it used to be and, thus, is more enjoyable than it used to be. The new debating, voting, and leader board features, as well as the active moderation may not be crucial to Con's returning, but it nevertheless improves the likelihood that Con would enjoy being an active member of DDO again. In fact, Con can't know if he'd find returning to this site worth it until he's actually tried it out again.
m93samman forfeited this round.
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